The Name of God, Part 2

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
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God replied to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. Say this to the people of Israel: I AM has sent me to you.”

Exodus 3:14

Yesterday I began to reflect on the name of God. At the burning bush, when Moses asked God about his name, God responded by saying that his name was I AM WHO I AM, or more simply, I AM. Yahweh has a similar meaning, and is closely related to the Hebrew verb meaning “to be.”

As I explained yesterday, God’s unusual name proclaims, not only his existence, but also his self-determination. Yet, in the context of the story of Exodus, God’s name implies more than this. Moses anticipated his return to Egypt and the questions from the Israelites concerning the name (nature) of the God who sent him. By revealing himself as I AM, God was saying to his people, in effect, “I AM the God of your ancestors. I AM the God who has formed you as a people. I AM the God who is with you. I AM the God who has heard your cries. I AM the God of mercy and compassion. I AM the God who will deliver you. I AM your savior.” (We’ll see this sense of God’s name even more clearly when we get to Exodus 34.)

As Christians, we understand that the name of God revealed to Moses anticipates the name, nature, and mission of Jesus. The very name of Jesus (Yeshua in Aramaic) means “Yahweh is salvation.” Moreover, in the Gospel of John, Jesus used the “I am” formula to reveal himself as the bread of life and the light of the world. He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). Moreover, even as I AM promised to be with the Israelites, so Jesus promised to be with us always (Matt. 28:20). What I AM was for the children of Israel, Jesus is for us . . . and for the world.

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: How have you experienced God’s reality in your life? How has God been present to you? In what ways do you need to know that I AM is with you today?

PRAYER: Gracious God, whose name is I AM WHO I AM, I praise you for being a God far beyond my understanding. I praise you for your unsearchable greatness. I praise you for making yourself known to me. I praise you for inviting me into relationship with you. I praise you for revealing yourself in Jesus. I praise you for being my savior. I praise you for being with me always.

All praise be to you, I AM WHO I AM! All praise be to you, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.